THOUSANDS of plastic crates were stolen through an intricate scam operated in the Costa Blanca South area of Spain.
The Guardia Civil arrested a 37-year-old man in the Vega Baja town of Callosa de Segura, who defrauded two Murcia region companies of over €48,000.
A third of the plastic containers were recovered from a warehouse in Cox, and a further 420 at a local farm.
The two firms in Molina de Segura conducted business with the fraudster who convinced them that he was working as an intermediary last year for an Italian company which would get the consignments.
Invoices were produced for payments which were not honoured, and a Guardia investigation found that the Italian company that the man claimed he worked for, had no knowledge of him.